March 2, 2000
And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stripped Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was on him; And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.
In the early part of our meeting we talked of healing as the surest form of outreach in Christian Science. One member reminded us of the many healings spontaneously effected by Mary Baker Eddy as she was nominally involved in other activities — for instance the healing of a cold-afflicted reporter on the other end of a telephone line, trying to pump her household for information; and the healing of a showroom salesman's infected eye as she was engaged in a furniture purchase. She generously shared her reflected spiritual power without reference to any need to herd them into a church enclosure.
A very devout Catholic visitor to our meeting — he had never heard of Christian Science — then asked us to have a look at some of his favorite prayers. (We had been wanting to dialogue with members of other faiths, so here was our desire turned to actuality.) He wanted to know what we thought of the 23rd Psalm, which he repeats every night before going to sleep. A member read us the version quoted by Mrs. Eddy on page 578 of Science and Health where the word "Love" is substituted for "Lord". Our visitor also requested our interpretation of a beautiful prayer to Our Lady of Perpetual Care — i. e., a manifestation of the Virgin Mary. It has many of the same comforting sentiments expressed in the Christian Science Daily Prayer (see The Manual of The Mother Church, by Mary Baker Eddy, page 41), although the language is quite different. We then discussed Michael, our new friend's favorite Saint, and read a passage from the textbook about him, including this: "He leads the hosts of heaven against the power of sin, Satan, and fights the holy wars" (Science and Health, pp. 566-567).
We went on to how we each prepare spiritually to face our day. One member said he establishes harmony in his thought by actively knowing that God is the only presence and power — if time is short, he can do it while shaving or bathing. Another goes through a process of meditation, prayer and study of the Christian Science Lesson: covering aspects of his own life together with world work. Our visitor just knows that there's a God and goes forward. He bases his faith on experience: "He has shown Himself to me." Another member relishes the sun streaming through his window, his bowl of cereal and The New York Times as representing the divine presence, meeting his need. (Another member couldn't resist seeing the Aten, Ceres and Hermes peeking through the symbols, preparing thought for the absolute realization of divinity in action.)
Here briefly are some additional areas explored:
1) A member wondered whether he was truly happy for friends who have good in their lives — or was he prone to an undercurrent of envy and consequent animosity? He is watching his feelings on this score and striving to work them through. Furthermore, he wants to seek and find the Science of all appearances, whether good or bad. It is one thing to celebrate the good fortune of another, but to leave it there in the realm of belief is surely malpractice.
2) Along these same lines, he wondered whether he and other students of Christian Science can move through praise or insult with equanimity, keeping a firm grasp on the realities of being in spite of such human evaluations? He felt that if he and others could keep the faith, it would act as a great boost to spiritual growth in these trying circumstances.
3) "Being vulnerable" is a trait much touted in some groups today. How might this work in Christian Science? Is there a tendency to clench up and start framing treatments based on human will when a problem presents itself or can we — sometimes at least — relax a bit and let "evil have its due", and chemicalization proceed until the full shape of the belief is revealed and then met by the full force of Science?
4) Do Christian Scientists get face lifts? Or even body lifts? Yes indeed. The face, or body, is the way we usually identify someone. Therefore we lift our identity to God, its source—this would be a full identity lift. "The Id would be handed over to the Entity." The so-called face or body must respond to its underlying, non-dualistic reality.
5) A member was briefly swept into the vortex of an addled sex junkie's world. Once he was free he felt it his duty — particularly in light of our topic — to work to see man as completely satisfied. "The rich in spirit help the poor in one grand brotherhood, all having the same Principle, or Father; and blessed is that man who seeth his brother's need and supplieth it, seeking his own in another's good" (Science and Health, p. 518:15-19).
6) Was Jesus Gay — or Black? These questions came up to the consternation of several in attendance. One member offered the view that it is perfectly natural for communities to want their Savior in a form they can identify with — as for instance all those quattro-centro paintings of Biblical characters depicted as Italians wearing Renaissance clothes. In any case with Christian Science we take the Christ out of any particular context, freeing it for application to all concepts.
7) The Amadou Diallo verdict this week greatly concerned us and many other New Yorkers. Some members felt it would ultimately be ineffective to blame the police alone. There has to be an outreach from all communities to embrace an understanding of others and their ways of life. It's a giant wake up call and for our part we want to stay awake, bear correct witness, as to the divinity of everyone in all the varied communities of our town.
We'll take a look at Dreams for next week.
And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither.
And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.
Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.
Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.
Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
Mind is its own great cause and effect. Mind is God, omnipotent and omnipresent. What, then, of an opposite so-called science, which says that man is both matter and mind, that Mind is in matter? Can the infinite be within the finite? And must not man have preexisted in the All and Only? Does an evil mind exist without space to occupy, power to act, or vanity to pretend that it is man?
If God is Mind and fills all space, is everywhere, matter is nowhere and sin is obsolete. If Mind, God, is all-power and all-presence, man is not met by another power and presence, that obstructing his intelligence pains, fetters, and befools him. The perfection of man is intact; whence, then, is something besides Him that is not the counterpart but the counterfeit of man's creator? Surely not from God, for He made man in His own likeness.
Christian Scientists are really united to only that which is Christlike, but they are not indifferent to the welfare of any one. To perpetuate a cold distance between our denomination and other sects, and close the door on church or individuals however much this is done to us is not Christian Science. Go not into the way of the unchristly, but wheresoever you recognize a clear expression of God's likeness, there abide in confidence and hope.
Our unity with churches of other denominations must rest on the spirit of Christ calling us together. It cannot come from any other source. Popularity, self-aggrandizement, aught that can darken in any degree our spirituality, must be set aside.